Time to reflect...
This brings us to the final week of the course, and if you have been watching the videos, reading the recommended material, and doing the practices, you have accomplished a lot! As a result of your dedicated learning and practice, it's likely that there have been some changes in you since you began, so now might be a good time to ask: What changes have you noticed since you began the course? The changes may be different than you expected and they might not be monumental. They could include subtle shifts, such as discovering that you are sometimes able to find space in the middle of a busy day, or that you are a little more resilient in encounters with others, or you're just a little kinder to yourself in difficult situations. It's often the subtle changes that are actually most profound, because they indicate learning that has been integrated, that they come from the inside-out rather than top-down.
Developing a practice of your own
Although there are videos and readings for this week, there are no practice sheets. Sometimes, we say that the eighth week of an MBSR class starts now but does not really have an end. If this course has been useful for you so far, you may want to consider the question: How will you continue practicing mindfulness in your daily life, on your own? You may decide that you would like to continue the practice in a formal way, incorporating in your schedule a sitting meditation or yoga, for instance, or you may already have an idea of how you would incorporate into your life one or more of the many informal practices (e.g., simple awareness, mindful eating, STOP, Soften-Soothe-Allow, or PAIN processes).
Of the people who take the MBSR course and have found ways to incorporate mindfulness into their lives, every one of them does it in a unique way, a way that suits their temperament and needs. One person might continue with a 30-minute per day meditation practice, another might take a regular yoga class, another may have made their daily walk into a meditation using present-moment awareness of their inner and outer worlds as they walk, and yet another may intentionally use one or more of the many informal practices throughout their day. The important thing is not the specific practices you choose, but that you make them yours, and that they resonate with you in a way that they help you to be more alive, engaged and joyful in your daily life.
Videos and Reading
The videos include Mindfulness is Not A Crystal Ball, a brief summary of mindfulness in daily life by Susan Kaiser Greenland, a video by Tara Brach on Happiness, and a funny but poignant piece, How My Son Ruined My Life, by James Baraz's mother. In Compassion and Mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn reinforces the key role that compassion and self-compassion play in this course. The last video is a reading of The Rabbi's Gift, a beautiful story illustrating the transformative power of seeing the goodness in others (and ourselves). The video is narrated by M. Scott Peck himself. The readings include some short documents having to do with developing a daily mindfulness practice, an article by Rachel Naomi Remen about serving vs. helping, and a printable version of The Rabbi's Gift.
Certificate of completion
If you have completed the practices each week and absorbed the videos and readings, Congratulations! This course is not a trivial accomplishment - it takes significant commitment to do the required practice and study on your own. If you would like a certificate documenting your completion of this online course, see Requesting a Certificate of Completion.
Even if you choose not to get a certificate, it might be fun to look at the Graduate Map which has pins in every city for which there is an online graduate.
Taking it from here...
The many audio, video and written resources embedded in the eight weeks are regularly updated with new material, including Graduate Program Readings, which are updated monthly. To see what has changed on the site recently, see What's New. There are many other Resources available on this site, including recommendations for Meditation Groups and Retreat Centers.
If you are interested in deepening your learning through an instructor-training program, there are many good training centers, some of which are listed on the Mindfulness Training Centers page. Still another way to keep learning is to look at the Gallery of Learning. There you will find current letters of some of the other graduates (published with their permission) - skimming through those can be like a mini-refresher.
I hope this course has been useful and wish you the best on your journey from here!
If you'd like to help expand the reach of the Palouse Mindfulness course:
If you found the course valuable, you are invited to make a small donation to help make the course even more accessible to people around the world, but this is not expected nor required. Please donate only if you feel inspired to do this and are comfortable enough financially to do so. See About Contributions.
Mindfulness is Not A Crystal Ball - Susan Kaiser Greenland [2 min]
Happiness - Tara Brach [20 min]
How My Son Ruined My Life - Selma & James Baraz [7 min]
Compassion and Mindfulness - Jon Kabat-Zinn [5 min]
The Rabbi's Gift - M. Scott Peck [6 min]
NOTE: If you are compiling a manual based on the suggestions in MBSR Manual, you would print a copy of this page as well as the Readings and Practice Sheets given above. For a version of this page which has been reformatted for your manual go to the printer-ready version of this page.
Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now.
- Rainer Maria Rilke